One of the most important steps in the masculine journey is discovering or uncovering ‘the wound.’ In male initiation rituals, there is often a ceremonial wounding, such as a piercing, a tattooing, a scarring, cutting of the hair, a slapping of the face, or a chipping of the tooth. The ritualistic wounding is a symbol to the initiate of the presence of the wound they carry in their heart, for, in truth, all men are wounded. It is a lesson we all could learn, for many of our society’s problems come from the maladaptive coping strategies men (and women) use to avoid the pain of their wounds.
The article below, Clara’s Smile, by National Post writer, Joe O’Connor (no relation), is a wonderful story of how Canada’s most decorated Olympian, Clara Hughes, a woman who seemingly has it all together, fell apart and confronted her state of serious depression. Clara Hughes is a real champion, she reached for help. It is the hallmark of health that she did, for many people refuse to get help, and their falls, their ‘hitting bottom’ can be tragic.
Even over the phone, Clara Hughes bubbles, she giggles with infectious glee, and you know that she is smiling, smiling that famous smile of hers.
Happy is her natural state. It is who she is: Our national sweetheart, an Olympic darling with a radiant glow, a great big grin and a closet full of medals.
She has collected them in the summer (on her bike) and in the winter (on her skates), and won us over along the way.
Or maybe it was her smile that did that. Maybe that’s why it is so strange to talk to Clara Hughes about that time when she was not smiling, about being stuck in a dark and lonely place — about the depression that nearly swallowed her whole.
She has never talked about it. She is ready to now.